George Koufogiannakis

"JazzWorld Quest" and "Radio Art - Greece" featured artist and co-winner of the "Dig Your Roots - Creative Jazz" cross-Canada project, Canadian Jazz Guitarist/Oudist George Koufogiannakis has been performing, producing, and touring for more than 20 years and has appeared on dozens of recordings. He is a graduate of both the Grant MacEwan and St. Francis Xavier University Jazz Music programs, and also holds a B.Ed. Degree from Dalhousie University. George has recently returned to Canada, after some time abroad in the United Kingdom, where he completed his Masters of Music Degree in Jazz Performance from Leeds College of Music, University of Leeds. [One Page Printable Press-Kit Bio] [JazzWorld Quest] [Radio Art - Greece]


Selected Discography - CBC Edmonton AM "Edpod Challenge" Free Download - Please Enjoy! - O Argaleios

 

d'Cana - Earthtone

AVAILABLE at iTUNES & CD Baby

and locally in Edmonton at

The Gramophone

 

Earthtone

d'Cana - a world inspired music ensemble that fuses together the depth and exploration of Modern Jazz with the energy, playfulness, and strong rhythmic foundation of Traditional World genres.

For more info, visit us on the web at:

d'Cana EPK - click here

Live on morning Global TV

Experimental World Jazz - YEG

Instrumentation:

features...

voice, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, harmonium, electronics, melodica, oud, Greek bouzouki, guitar, synth guitar, fretless guitar, banjo, fretless and fretted basses, cajon, djembe, tabla, bongos, electronic percussion, frame drums.

Nominated for:

"Jazz Album of the Year" - Edmonton Music Awards

"World Recording of the Year" - Western Canadian Music Awards

For Audio Samples - click here

d'Cana - Earthtone:

1 - Two Line Pass (4:01)
2 - He Who Buys Land (4:08)
3 - Miss Melody (6:23)
4 - Ha'oup (4:43)
5 - Music Takes Flight (5:32)
6 - Djun Djun (7:03)
7 - Fractals (1:38)
8 - Finnugreek (4:45)
9 - Summer (4:21)
10 - Autumn (3:11)
11 - Winter (3:35)
12 - Spring (4:43)
13 - YEG (4:18)

"All four contributed compositions to the 13 tracks on d'Cana's debut disc Earthtone, drawing on inspirations from some of the players' own ethnic roots (Koufogiannakis's Greek heritage, Porkka's Finnish ties) to a common grounding in jazz training and improvisation. But that only hints at the influences on display from Vivaldi to Rush, from African and Latin grooves to Bill Frisell. The result is really an amazing, uplifting global music soup." - Roger Levesque (Edmonton Journal)

Generations - Greek Oud Jazz

 

AVAILABLE at iTUNES & CD Baby

and locally in Edmonton at

The Gramophone

Greek Oud Jazz:

Featuring a mix of Modern Jazz and Greek Traditional Music from and inspired by the Island of Crete.

2010 Western Canadian Music Awards nomination, "World Recording of the Year": WCMA

Nominated for Jazz Album of the Year at the 9th Annual Independent Music Awards: IMA

2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards nominee, "World Solo Artist of the Year"

- News stories: CityTV / ShawTV / J.Tomek

Musicians:

Featuring: George Koufogiannakis - oud, guitar, bouzouki / Dan Skakun - drums / Thom Golub - acoustic bass

With Special Guests: Charlie Austin (retired Head of Keyboard Studies, GMCC) - piano & organ / Jeremiah McDade (JUNO & Canadian Folk Music Award winning multi-instrumentalist) - saxophones & violin / Joel Gray - trumpet / Terry McDade - harp / Jessica Rogers - flute / Kevin Parkinson - hand percussion / The Cosmopolitan Music Society Monday Night Band

Produced by: George Koufogiannakis & Terry McDade / Engineered, Mixed, & Mastered by: Cam Ambrose at Braindead Digital Studios / Graphic Design by: Jason Grilo at Primal Tribe / Special Thanks to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts for their support in the making of this project.

Quotes:

"I wish I were Greek, and not only because I have a thing for spanakopita. With Generations - Greek Oud Jazz, George Koufogiannakis makes me wish I'd grown up with the music he's absorbed from the old country. Koufogiannakis has his feet firmly planted in Greek tradition... This album isn't straight-up world music, however: Koufogiannakis adds kick to some of the tracks with his own jazz signature. The result is like mixing Red Bull with your ouzo: extra energy and an added kick of flavour... Tasty." - Jen Hoyer (SEE Magazine)

"...George Koufogiannakis' World Exploration with Charlie Austin, Thom Golub & Dan Skakun was brilliant... fabulous playing, real fusion - no song was as you thought it'd be... great vibe, wonderful show" - Kirby (Ramparts Entertainment) at the 2010 Edmonton International Jazz Festival

"...the keyword is good taste without compromise. George K. is not merely juxtaposing traditional and modern themes and rhythms, his arrangements rise beyond a colorful kaleidoscope of eclectic sonorities to achieve inclusiveness, a new compositional structure that merges together the essence of Greek dances and the spontaneity of jazz orchestrations. There is a flavor of infused Eastern musical spirituality flowing, which gives the music a distinctive dimension." - JazzWorldQuest.com

"Refreshing, unusual, heart-warming and virtuosic, George Koufogiannakis' new album "Generations" will take you on a fast World/Jazz train from Athens to New York!" - Terry McDade

Dig Your Roots - Creative Jazz

The latest release from the "Dig Your Roots" project, featuring a mix of Canadian independent artists from across the country exploring the more creative side of jazz and improvised music. "Dig Your Roots" is a production of The National Campus and Community Radio Association and is sponsored by Corus Entertainment and Canada Council for the Arts. This Creative Jazz Compilation CD marks the 6th release in the "Dig Your Roots" catalog. Past projects include: Hip Hop, Spoken Word, Electronic Dance, Roots, and Aboriginal. It is an honour to be a part of this amazing project with such a talented and accomplished group of artists. Cheers to Melissa Kaestner and everyone at "Dig Your Roots" for their great work! "Creative Jazz/Yo, Mo' D." - Review

AVAILABLE at iTUNES & AMAZON.com

George Koufogiannakis - Explorations in Improvised Music

An internationally influenced, energetic, and playful approach to improvised jazz music featuring some of the most talented and creative improvising musicians from across the U.K. and Canada. - Featuring: George K... - gtr, soprano sax, & slide whistle/ Richard Skilbeck - tpt & flugelhorn/ Darren McCarthy - acoustic bass/ David Cottrell - drms/ With Special Guests: C. Andrew - piano/ J. Dubyk - ten & alto sax/ R. Ceilin & L. Creswell - bass/ R. Thompson - keys/ Tinok - vocals, keys, & turntables/ M. Scholz & J. Grilo - drms/ R. Cardinal - sound design/ produced by George K... with assistant production by C. Ambrose Edmonton Journal Roger Levesque Article

"The name of the CD 'Explorations in Improvised Music' captures the essence of this adventurous yet well structured performance combining the sparkling creativity of a group of fine Canadian and British musicians... An album full of energy to the delight of modern jazz lovers." - JazzWorldQuest.com

Grant MacEwan College - Coming Home - a compilation featuring MacEwan Music alumni and faculty. Produced by Marcel Hamel

This very eclectic collection of recordings features such artists as Bomba, Kent Sangster, Mike Rud, and The Corb Lund Band. It also features an enhanced portion to learn more about the artists and their music.

The Big Breakfast Boogie Band

Shannon Tyler - voc / Stephen Antle - voc / Joel Gray - tpt / Don Berner - sax / Andrew Latonni - tbn / Rob Thompson - keys / George K... - gtr / Don Marcotte - bass / Mark Scholz - drms / produced by George K...

A collection of Soul, Jazz, Swing, & Blues from one of Edmonton's most entertaining, creative, & in-demand ensembles.

Absinthe Groove Quartet - Live from Cam's Kitchen

Shannon Tyler - voc / Rob Thompson - organ & keys / George K... - gtr / Mark Scholz - drms / produced by George K...

A cool collection of Soul, Gospel, & Jazz in the tradition of the organ quartets of the 60's.

The Craft - Degrees of Freedom

Rhonda Withnell - voc / Joel Gray - tpt / Aaron Keyes - tpt / Jerrold Dubyk - tenor sax / Ken Hoffman - bari sax / Rob Thompson - keys / George K... - gtr / Ron Ceilin - bass / Ryan Vikedal (Nickelback) - drms / produced by The Craft - This Edmonton ensemble was engineered to produce that phat, funky Tower of Power sound. This debut release showcases that power as well as their strong composition, arranging, and production talents.

Laura Fogden- For Good Reasons

Laura Fogden - voc / Kim Brophy - tpt & keys / Jim Olson - bass / Kelly Brophy - sax / Jarret Brophy - sax / Tomas Brabec - sequencing / George K... - guest gtr / produced by Dumage for Octavo Productions

It was a pleasure working with such a great group of people on this rich, eclectic, roots recording.

Exit 303 - Trip To Temple

Jay Holterhus - voc & gtr / Dean Park - voc & gtr / Cam Ambrose - keys / Michael Ricketts - bass / Todd Chisholm - drms / produced by Cam Ambrose & Exit 303

I had worked with these fellows in a few different ensembles prior to this recording. I was thrilled to guest on their Exit 303 debut release. Their great songwriting skills and crazy live shows have brought exit 303 to the attention of audiences and radio and record executives alike. Check out their new release, "Into the Circle".

Tyler Hamilton - Under Christ (1996)

produced by Dan Bagan

The young gospel side of this Canadian Idol Finalist. It was such a great experience having the opportunity to work with Tyler. His huge wealth of talent was evident, even in his earlier years.

Sex & Witchcraft - Hardcore Grooves

Tinok & Sprock - voc, beats & scratchin', 8 Hz,low frequency decoding, rhymes, kick / Waxxx O'Williams - cut creator, low frequency oscilator / Stephanie Suchy, L.s.H, Heidi Brandley, Louise Dawson - voc / George K... - gtr / Ron Ceilin - bass... / produced by Tinok & Sprock

One of the most unusual sessions I've ever been on, but the results are amazing. A very cool disc.

Power Picks - Power 92 Radio Compilation

An original Rock Band I was working with in 1996 called "4 Degrees K" won the chance to appear on this radio station compilation CD. The disc also included the local acts C4 & The Jupiter Crash, Kelen, Picasso's Life, State of Affairs, and The Next Big Thing. Produced by Greg Kavanagh.

Goodspeed Staples Quartet - Eastern Passage

Jeff Goodspeed - woodwinds / Dave Staples - piano / Jamie Gatti - bass / Tom Roach - drums / with guest appearances by John Cuming - tpt & flugel / Jeff Reilly - bass clarinet / George K... - gtr / produced by Jeff Reilly

Won the "Best Jazz Recording" honours at the 1996 East Coast Music Awards. This is one of my favourite projects I've had the pleasure to be a part of. My hat is off to Jeff and Dave for creating such a wonderful recording.

I've also had the good fortune to have performed with a number of other ensembles over the years including the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Garth Prince Band, Middle Eastern and North African Music Ensemble (MENAME), the River City Big Band, Edmonton Creative Musicians' Collective (ECMC), the LCM Cuban Ensemble and the LCM Swing Band, Jeff Hendrick and the New York Groove, CO2, The Rock Island Blues Band, Moment's Notice, the Dalhousie Univ. Jazz Band, Queen's Univ. Big Band, the St. FX Univ. Jazz Ensemble, the Grant MacEwan College "A" Big Band / Guitar Band / & Trombone Band, Trembita, Risky Business, Guide to the Dictionary, as well as a number of theatre companies across the country.
Selected Production Projects

The AOB Rock Album - NOW and THEN

This release features a compilation of some of the best Rock Bands and Artists from the AOB student body, spanning the last 10 years.

B.K.'s Planet - The Hip Class

Jr. High School CD, including Concert Bands, Jazz Bands, Choir, and School Rock Bands. It was a huge hit.

B.K.Groove

Jr. High School CD, the sequel. The kids did a great job handling the studio once again.

Austin O'Brien School - Diggin' on Soul Food

High School CD. Includes a multimedia component featuring the Music, Drama, and Art departments. Was released to rave media reviews.

Sally's Krackers

An extremely talented group of young players who show a great sense of form and direction in their compositions.

Big Breakfast Boogie Band

Anytime you can get into the studio with such a great group of musicians as this lot, you know something special is going to happen.

From Love To Forfeit

A fantastic new band on the Edmonton music scene. This recording showcases their wonderfully contagious energy and strong sense of awareness of the world around them.

 

 

 

I've also composed and produced the music for a television comedy special called "Mark and Steve: Media Pass", which aired in 2001 on the Comedy Network - starring Mark Scholz and Stephen Antle. A great project put together by two of the hardest working people in television.

Teacher Highlights/Accolades

1998 - Released Blessed Kateri Jr. High School Music Department CD, "B.K.'s Planet - The Hip Class".

2000 - "Alberta Excellence in Teaching Award" Finalist.

2000 - Released Blessed Kateri Jr. High School Music Department CD, "B.K. Groove".

2002 - AOB Jr. Brass Ens. named Finalists in the National CBC Hockey Night in Canada Theme Song Performance Contest.

2002 - Released Austin O'Brien High School Music Department CD, "Diggin' On Soul Food".

2003 - Student awarded the honour of "Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Young Composer in Residence".

2004 - Nominated a second time for the "Alberta Excellence in Teaching Award".

2006 - The Austin O'Brien High School Concert Ensemble and Senior Jazz Band both finish in 1st place in their category at the Anaheim Heritage Music Festival Competition, in California.

2007 - Featured CTV Interview Click Here

2007/2008 - Released Austin O'Brien Rock Compilation CD, "NOW and THEN - The AOB Rock Album". Sandra Sperounes Journal Article. / Joelle Tomek Examiner Article.

2008 - The Austin O'Brien High School Concert Ensemble receives the Gold Medal Superior Standing at the Orlando Heritage Music Festival Competition, in Florida. Brian Swane Examiner Article.

2009 - Arranged and Conducted the accompanying music for the featured traditional Ukrainian Dance program with the ECS Senior All-City Concert Band at the district-wide Celebration of the Arts performance.

2010 - Nomination by colleagues, students, and band-parents for the "Alberta Excellence in Teaching Award".

2007/2011 - Co-conducted the Edmonton Catholic Schools All-Star Jazz Ensemble. Video of our Ska Performance.

2011 - Released Austin O'Brien High School Fine Arts Department CD, "AOB - PLAY ART LOUD".

2011 - The AOB "Zombie Prom" Pit Band nominated for "Outstanding Orchestra" at the 2011 Cappies Awards.

2012 - Conducting the AOB Concert Ensemble Live at the Winspear Centre - Videos: Hallelujah & Stairway to Heaven.

2012 - Marks the 7th straight year the AOB Senior Class has written and recorded their own original Graduation Song. (Video)

2013 - The Austin O'Brien Senior Jazz Band achieves the highest Gold Excellence rating at the 2013 MusicFest Canada National Competition in Toronto.

2013/2014 - The AOB Pit Band nominated for "Creativity" (Original Music) at the 2013 & 2014 Cappies Awards.

2015 - The AOB CORAM BOY CHAMBER ENSEMBLE Pit Band wins the CAPPIES AWARD for Most Outstanding Orchestra.

2015 - AOB music student Marc S. awarded the honour of "Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Young Composer in Residence".

2015 - AOB's 10th straight year of an original Gr. 12 Graduation Song. Given a featured performance at the Winspear Centre as a tribute to all Gr. 12 Graduates for the entire school district. (Excerpts from this year's composition)


Favorites - The following are a collection of some of the artists and their works that have had an influence on me over the years.

Recordings

  • Undercurrent - Bill Evans & Jim Hall
  • Jim Hall LIVE! (1975) - Jim Hall
  • Brother Sister -The Brand New Heavies
  • Star People - Miles Davis
  • Pontiac - Lyle Lovett
  • My Backyard - Mose Allison
  • We Want Miles - Miles Davis
  • Concentric - Lina Allemano Four
  • It's Uptown - George Benson Quartet
  • John Abercrombie/Marc Johnson/Peter Erskine Live (1988)
  • Live at Formerly's - Jack Semple
  • Between the Breaks...Live! - Stan Rogers
  • Cohen Live - Leonard Cohen
  • Sinatra at the Sands with Count Basie
  • Heavy Metal Be-Bop - Brecker Brothers
  • The Miracle Cure - Buddy Wasisname & the Other Fellers
  • Afro Blue Impressions - John Coltrane

Movies

  • All of Me (Steve Martin)
  • Life is Beautiful
  • Free to Be... You and Me
  • Sicko
  • Strange Brew
  • Matrix
  • Nosferatu (1922)
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Rear Window
  • Pee Wee's Big Adventure
  • Enter the Dragon
  • Bowling for Columbine
  • The Kid's Are Alright
  • A Christmas Story
  • The Golden Child
  • 'Round Midnight (1986)
  • The Corporation

Books

  • No Logo - Naomi Klein
  • Born Standing Up - Steve Martin
  • Life of Pi - Yann Martel
  • A Tourist's Guide To Glengarry - Ian McGillis
  • Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood
  • Coming Through Slaughter - Michael Ondaatje
  • The Thanatos Syndrome - Walker Percy
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Song of Lawino/Song of Ocol - Okot p'Bitek
  • The Dot & the Line - Norton Juster
  • A Brief History of Time - Stephen W. Hawking
  • Diffendoofer Day - Dr. Seuss & Jack Prelutsky
  • Deschooling Society - Ivan Illich
  • Stupid White Men: and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation! - Michael Moore
  • Zorba the Greek - Nikos Kazantzakis

Musicians

Geo's Picks - Links to some more of the most talented and innovative young jazz musicians, from across Canada and abroad, that I have come across over the years:

Picture Gallery - Click on image to enlarge:

 

Contact

 

More Video Links:

"Ha'oup" - Live with full Wind Band

"Postcards on a Train" - fun video

Chord Solo "Polka Dots..." (abridged)

Funky Streetcar Guitar

Last Updated: 2016

 

Audio Clips

  • O Argaleios - Generations - Greek Oud Jazz, written by the Great Master of Cretan music, Kostas Mountakis (1926-1991) who went on to influence a generation of Lyre players and all island musicians with his passionate compositions, performances, and philosophies about the emotional inspiration and connection to cultural music. Arranged by G. Koufogiannakis.
  • Postcards on a Train - Generations - Greek Oud Jazz, written & arranged by G. Koufogiannakis.
  • As Poume - Generations - Greek Oud Jazz, written by G. Georgiadis & D. Kostelenos, arranged by G. Koufogiannakis.
  • Dave's Blues - Generations - Greek Oud Jazz, written & arranged by G. Koufogiannakis - This piece was written for a fantastic drummer I had worked with in England named Dave Cottrell, who has an amazing ability to navigate through unusual shots and time/feel changes.
  • Yia Yia K. - Generations - Greek Oud Jazz, written & arranged by G. Koufogiannakis - This piece is dedicated to the wonderful Helen K.
  • Yo, Mo' D. - Explorations in Improvised Music, written & arranged by G. Koufogiannakis. This piece was inspired by Didrik Ingvaldsen and Petter Frost Fadnes. May they continue to open our eyes and ears to new and exciting possibilities in Improvised Music.
  • Heads Up - Remix - Explorations in Improvised Music, written & arranged by G. Koufogiannakis. I wrote this piece around a back-cycling symmetrical dominant approach to a 12 bar blues. It was inspired by a great guitar player, Jim Head, who has a knack of being able to weave a line effortlessly through a forest of related & unrelated changes.
  • Oleo - Explorations in Improvised Music, written by S. Rollins, arranged by G. Koufogiannakis.
All content copyright © George Koufogiannakis 2016

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